Thursday, September 09, 2010

Don't you wish?

Concerning an editorial about Anglicanorum Coetibus, a comment recently contained this question addressed to me:

"By the way, why does this eat at you so much? You've made your rhetorical position clear, but to be put into such a state of near-constant public indignation for almost a year is a remarkable feat."

So, I replied:

"Don't you wish it was about indignation? But, face it, this is really about hard hitting and spot-on analysis. You just can't stand it."

Comments of the kind we see above, and to which I replied, are an offense committed against human intellect. Unjustified assumption serves deceptively as a substitute for genuine refutation, a subtle form of Bulverism far easier than intellectual engagement in argument (as Bulverism always is). Nonetheless, such a comment proves helpful by reminding us of the need to ward off the irrational nature of our opposition in the blogosphere. Therefore, I have put together the following list of hypothetical questions, to our opponents and critics, all beginning with those immortal words, "Don't you wish."

Don't you wish that the stated position of this blog, critical of the Hepworth/Former Anglican spin on Anglicanorum Coetibus, was an expression of anger?

I have answered this in my response to the comment that got me going (above); but, let me add that reading the essays provided for you on the special page of relevant links, might open your eyes to the detailed and substantive nature of our efforts.

Don't you wish it was about hating Roman Catholicism? After all, it is easy to dismiss mere prejudice and bigotry. It is far more difficult to respond to theological positions, and to careful analysis of facts. Talk of "anger" and "hatred" against the Roman Catholic Church miss the target, and present a wild accusation in place of debate. Baseless charges of anger or hatred cannot answer, and do not explain away, the arguments we have made concerning facts. Don't you wish they could?

Don't you wish we had aimed the bulk of our criticism at Rome itself? For, although we have reminded our readers that Rome has yet to get its house in order on such matters as the sexual abuse scandal (a fair and honest criticism based on unhappy facts, and relevant to the mistaken assumption that they have all the answers), our analysis of Anglicanorum Coetibus has not targeted Rome. It has targeted the absurd interpretation, by TAC/ACA spokesmen, trying to twist the clear meaning of the new constitution and norms to fit their agenda, and to stall their people.

Don't you wish that the Continuing Church really was falling apart? Rome has responded to specific problems in the Cantuarian realm, that is, the [official, Canterbury] Anglican Communion. But, Anglicanorum Coetibus offers nothing to meet any emergency among Continuing Anglicans, because the Affirmation of St. Louis, along with the existence of the ACC/UECNA/APCK concordat, has rescued us from the emergency Canterbury churches face (thanks be to God).

Don't you wish that we, at this blog, had not done our homework? Whenever the Hepworth/Former Anglican spin has come under fire from us, we have exhibited such bad taste as to deal with the actual words in the new constitution and norms, and the clear references to RC Canon Law that explain their history and meaning (especially in light of the Pastoral Provisions, from which such language as "a case by case basis" come from, and which has a long and well established meaning). The very clauses of the constitution and norms that they misquote, or quote out of context, are the ones which shoot down their wild claims.

Don't you wish the Bible predicted outward and political unity of the Church, instead of commanding us to be faithful to what is true, and to love one another? But, it doesn't. No valid eschatology can be built on the idea of a Church without the sort of flaws that sinful people create within her. Therefore, no basis exists for preaching that people have a moral duty to follow where Hepworth pretends to lead. Furthermore, to insist on conversion to Rome, thus treating a stated or intended acceptance of their latest "offer" as a moral imperative, reduces genuine ecumenical progress to acceptance of papal ideology, and creates an atmosphere in which the innocent are condemned for following the dictates of their consciences.

Don't you wish the issue was unity rather than conversion? Even if ordinariates are established, and several people join them, the Church will not become one huge organization with outward and political unity under one big HQ, just because a few people (maybe a few thousand people) swim the Tiber. It will not erase the existence of separate communions in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Only substantive communication, and commitment from Patriarchs, Primates and Archbishops can do that. Anglicanorum Coetibus represents no opportunity at all for the kind of unity that would end sad divisions.

Don't you wish that TAC members would not read our blog? But, they do -- and they are welcome to read and comment.


Anonymous said...

This to me is the best sentence in the essay:

"Therefore, no basis exists for preaching that people have a moral duty to follow where Hepworth pretends to lead."

It is sad that a snippet of John 17, taken out of context, in reality a mantra of the nearly dead Protestant Ecumenical Movement, has been bandied about by the Hepworthians and Campesians. No evidence can be brought forth that the "unity" envisioned by Our Lord is the "unity" huckstered about by certain TAC bishops.

welshmann said...

Fr. Hart:

Soon after my journey toward the Catholic center of the Christian faith began, it was made abundantly clear to me that Anglican priests simply are not Catholic priests, at least as far as Rome is concerned.

Laying aside all of the more nuanced concerns that you and others have addressed about Anglicanorum Coetibus, I have a simple question. Assuming that Abp. Hepworth and others have been convinced that Rome is the One True Church, and all this other stuff is just the ecclesiastical paperwork, have Abp. Hepworth and his associates stopped administering the sacraments? Wouldn't a former Anglican priest, convinced of the truth of Roman claims, cease and desist unless and until he received "valid" orders? Am I missing something?


Anonymous said...

Fr Hart,

Another "Don't you wish"

Don't you wish people would play the ball and not the man.......

The Romeward bound make it so personal towards the ones who chose to remain faithful Christians in their current churches.

After all, they are the ones who made the choice to "move away".
It is so easy to move 100 steps to the left, and then to look at the ones on the right, who did not change position at all, and to (accusingly) say : "Look how far to the right you are".........

Each one of us has to do what we perceive as the "right thing for personal salvation".

Intimidation from the Romeward bound is unacceptable, and unbecoming of individuals claiming to be living the love of Christ.

AFS1970 said...

As to the moral imperative aspect of this, one thing comes to mind. The bible being written a long time ago, if there was such an imperative to join Rome, would it not have been there all along? In that light, Anglicanorum Coetibus, is a late player to the game and really offers nothing that other conversions didn't already other than a delay.

Michael said...

I enjoy spirited discussion, and wouldn't mind if you were angry - to be angry is no sin.

If I've had any complaint about your posts, Father, it isn't about your emotion - but precisely about the sort of analysis you've produced.

Even if I sympathized with you completely - even if my emotions, and sentiments, were exactly yours - I would still be forced to disagree with your reading of the Apostolic Constitution, your conclusions about the position of the TAC, and your vision for the future of the Church, on the basis of cold, hard, research and experience.

With or without prejudice, with or without emotion - without regard to anything else - I still believe that you are very wrong in your assessment of the situation.

Don't you wish it was just something personal?

Fr. Robert Hart said...


After all this time I can say that no one has presented a substantive refutation to our work. The strongest attempts have been easy, far too easy, for us to answer with facts. You say we have been wrong in our interpretation. I respond, therefore, by asking, "for example?"

Anonymous said...

and yet, the question goes unanswered...

Fr. Robert Hart said...


It's early yet. Michael might try to answer with a "fer inst'nce"; but I would not hold my breath.